On Saturday, June 6th, over 200 people gathered in the back of Carteret High School to “take a step in the right direction” and unite against bullying.
Pathways School Based Youth Services Program hosted its 3rd annual Bullying Prevention Walkathon in Carteret. The students of the high school and the community of Carteret came out to support this worthy cause.
After the welcome by Program Director Lauren Balkan and acknowledgments by high school senior, Jason Miles, Carteret Mayor Dan Reiman spoke to the audience, declaring June 6, 2015 “Anti Bullying Awareness Day” as a symbol of Carteret’s commitment to the year round struggle against bullying.
In addition to the mayor, Alissa Radford, a student at Carteret High School gave a moving spoken word piece that powerfully demonstrated the strength of hurtful words.
Melissa Hopely of Minding Your Mind was the guest speaker of the day. She is a well-accomplished international motivational speaker and mental health and anti-bullying advocate. Minding Your Mind’s (MYM) primary objective is to provide mental health education to adolescents, teens and young adults, their parents, teachers and school administrators. Melissa spoke about the effects of bullying and her struggles with mental health issues, which almost took her life.
After the speeches, the walkers took to the street encouraged on by sign holders and a very enthusiastic finish line. One student stated of the day, “I loved today. I was bullied my whole life but never spoke about it. Everyone being here together today and talking about bullying makes me know I can talk about it now. I am not alone.”
In The USA, according to PACER:
Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment (Center for Disease Control, 2012).
Students who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood (Center for Disease Control, 2012).
Youth victimized by their peers were 2.4 times more likely to report suicidal ideation and 3.3 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than youth who reported not being bullied (Espelage and Holt, 2013).